Sponsor a New Student
Martial art schools have changed substantially over the last two decades. Differences range from class curriculum to training benefits to an expanded student age base. But what hasn’t changed is what’s at the core of the martial arts experience: the teacher-student relationship. And while you may be thinking about the relationship with your instructor, I am actually referring to the cycle that you as the student will undergo when you become a martial arts student. Despite the fact that you may never open your own school or even teach professionally, the student always in some way becomes a teacher. And it is this special transition that has carried the martial arts from generation to generation and millennium to millennium. Here’s a basic explanation…
Each new martial artist begins as a novice until he or she has extracted enough knowledge to be considered an intermediate skilled student. At the same time, and without the student’s awareness, each has also become a novice teacher. You are not going to receive recognition for this title and no one may ever point it out, but you will begin to find yourself in situations where you are offering your expertise to a beginner student or a group of students. It is inevitable that a beginner student will eventually ask you for help. Not only is this flattering but it is a wonderful experience to pass along your martial arts knowledge. It is for this reason that I encourage you to sponsor a new student into the martial arts and your school.
Sponsoring a new student means that you seek out one individual who you feel would benefit from the martial arts training you have received. It also means that you will take personal responsibility for that new student in two very important ways. The first is to be available if that student ever needs help with any techniques learned in class. In essence, you are taking this student under your wing. The second way is that you “oversee” their training. You do this by paying attention to training progress and class attendance. When necessary, you can be a motivational force that can help the student get back on target towards the goal of black belt.
It is always a rewarding experience to help someone with training. There is a special feeling each time that student progresses through each rank knowing that you are partly responsible for the results. This feeling that you will share is what drives us as instructors, and is why we have this school for you. I hope you will consider sponsoring a new martial artist because, in the end, we are all students who teach the martial arts.
Joseph Galea is a contributing writer for Martial Arts Monthly magazine.